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Original Sin

Angelina -- The Unrepentant Whore

By Amy Meadows

Staff Writer

Directed by Michael Cristofer.

Written by Michael Cristofer, Jay Cantor, and Amanda Silver.

Starring Antonio Banderas, Angelina Jolie, and Thomas Jane.

Rated R.

From her prison cell, Bonny Castle (Angelina Jolie) tells us that you can’t walk away from love. However, as the film wore on, I began to wish that I could walk away from this awful movie.

Antonio Banderas plays a naÏve coffee merchant in Cuba who sends away for a mail-order bride from Delaware. Although the woman who arrives is not quite what he expected, he soon finds himself blissfully enraptured ... until, of course, he discovers that his entire marriage has been a lie.

Although Banderas initially elicits the sympathy of the audience with his headlong rush into love, his character soon becomes tiresome and foolish. Thus, I have come up with some helpful guidelines for avoiding his fate:

(1) If your spouse has tried to kill you and you have tried to kill your spouse, maybe it is time to admit that the relationship just is not working out.

(2) Maybe one should wait several days before marrying that “special someone.” It is better to wait and see if the potential spouse is sadistic and evil first.

(3) If one’s spouse runs away, steals money and possessions, and has multiple affairs, one might consider an annulment.

The worst aspect of the film, however, was its manipulation of the audience. For instance, although Jolie had been an unrepentant whore and pawn in murders and manipulations throughout most of the movie, her “sincere” tears at the end for Antonio Banderas’s undying love makes the audience feel sorry for her. It is later apparent that the sympathy she elicits is largely undeserved.

Despite its plot flaws, the cinematography in Original Sin is quite unique. Disregarding the traditional noir backdrop of darkness and gloom, the movie is filled with vibrant imagery, brilliant colors and textures. The colorful backdrop creates a contrast to the dark and dangerous underworld that the characters inhabit. Havana during Carnival, morality plays, and devious old men make the contrast all the more pronounced, and the plot seem much more dark than it actually is.

Despite its strengths, the movie’s technical mastery cannot salvage its painfully ridiculous plot and unbelievable characters. All the colors, contrasts, and allusions in the world could not save this movie. Indeed, this story is more fit to be a trashy romance novel than anything resembling serious filmmaking.